Twenty two new working peers will join the House of Lords. Photo: AFP
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Dame Gail Rebuck, widow of Philip Gould, announced as new Labour peer

Twenty two new peers announced.

Dame Gail Rebuck, the widow of Labour peer Philip Gould, has been selected by Labour to become a working peer.

The chair of Penguin Random House UK, Dame Gail was voted the 10th most powerful woman in the UK by Radio 4's Woman's House last year. Made a dame in 2009, she will now join the Lords, to which her late husband was elevated in 2004.

Gould, who died in 2011, was an aide to Tony Blair and one of the principle architects of the New Labour political project.

Michael Cashman, a former Eastenders actor, has also been nominated by Labour for a peerage.

The announcement today of the latest round of working peers sees 22 titles bestowed by the Queen.

Twelve peers have been appointed by the Tories, six by the Lib Dems, three by Labour and one by the Democratic Unionist Party.

Accusations of cronyism have already been thrown at the Conservatives, as details of the plan to ennoble key donor Michael Farmer, a City financier, were leaked last week. Former M&S boss Sir Stuart Rose and football executive Karren Brady have also been nominated.

Before today, David Cameron had already named 161 new peers since 2010. The new appointments have come amid a row that the House of Lords is becoming over crowded and too expensive.

New figures revealed earlier this week showed that expenses claimed by members of the Lords have risen by more than £4 million since the government came to power. Peers’ allowances have increased from £17.2m before the 2010 election to £21.6m.

Former Commons Speaker Baroness Boothroyd complained this week that the Lords was becoming overcrowded and urged older peers to bow out.

New rules passed this year allow peers to retire permanently from the House for the first time.

Boothroyd said: “It is so overcrowded that there is enough space for only about two thirds of us in the chamber itself.”

Speaking on Radio 4’s World at One on Monday, she added: “It is appalling. All prime ministers are very keen to put a lot of new members in here so that they can get their legislation through.”


The full list of new working peers is below.


Conservative Party

Karren Brady CBE – Vice-Chairman of West Ham FC; Senior Non-Executive Director of the Syco and Arcadia Brands; Small Business Ambassador for the Conservative Party; and member of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Women in Sport Advisory Board.

Martin Callanan – former Conservative Member of the European Parliament for the North East of England; former Leader of the Conservative MEPs and of the European Conservatives and Reformists group.

Carlyn Chisholm – Senior volunteer in the Conservative Party; Co-Chairman of the Conservative Candidate’s Committee; former nurse.

Andrew Cooper – Former Director of Political Operations to the Conservative Party; founder and Board Director of Populus.

Natalie Evans – Director of New Schools Network, an independent educational charity established to provide free advice and support for groups wanting to set up free schools.

Michael Farmer – Founding Partner of RK Mine Finance Group; Trustee of the Kingham Hill Trust; Treasurer of the Conservative Party.

Dido Harding – Chief Executive of TalkTalk Telecom Group PLC.

Arminka Helic – Government Special Adviser; leading adviser to Government on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict.

Nosheena Mobarik CBE – Businesswomen; former Chairman of CBI Scotland; founder and Convener of the Scotland Pakistan Network; Chairman of the Pakistan Britain Trade and Investment Forum.

Sir Stuart Rose – Former Chief Executive and Chairman of Marks and Spencer PLC.

Joanna Shields OBE – leading technology industry executive and entrepreneur; the Prime Minister’s Digital Adviser; Chair of Tech City UK; and Non-Executive Director of the London Stock Exchange.

Ranbir Suri – businessman; former General Secretary of the Board of British Sikhs.


Labour Party

Michael Cashman CBE – Member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands constituency; equality rights campaigner; former actor.

Chris Lennie – political strategist; former Deputy Secretary General of the Labour Party.

Dame Gail Rebuck – businesswoman, publisher, chairman of Penguin Random House UK


Liberal Democrat Party

Chris Fox - Director of Group Communications for GKN; former Chief Executive of the Liberal Democrats.

Cllr David Goddard – elected Member of Stockport Metropolitan Council; former Leader of Stockport Council; former Member of the Greater Manchester Police Authority; former Non-Executive Director of Manchester International Airport.

Cllr Barbara Janke – elected Member and former Leader of Bristol City Council; former teacher.

Cllr Kath Pinnock – elected Member and former Leader of Kirklees Council.

Paul Scriven – managing partner for Scriven Consulting; former elected Member and Leader of Sheffield City Council; former senior NHS manager.

Cllr Dr Julie Smith – elected Member of Newnham City Council; Senior Lecturer in International Relations in the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) at Cambridge University; Fellow of Robinson College.

Democratic Unionist Party

William Hay MLA – Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, who has elected to sit on the crossbenches.

Lucy Fisher writes about politics and is the winner of the Anthony Howard Award 2013. She tweets @LOS_Fisher.


Photo: Getty Images
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The buck doesn't stop with Grant Shapps - and probably shouldn't stop with Lord Feldman, either

The question of "who knew what, and when?" shouldn't stop with the Conservative peer.

If Grant Shapps’ enforced resignation as a minister was intended to draw a line under the Mark Clarke affair, it has had the reverse effect. Attention is now shifting to Lord Feldman, who was joint chair during Shapps’  tenure at the top of CCHQ.  It is not just the allegations of sexual harrassment, bullying, and extortion against Mark Clarke, but the question of who knew what, and when.

Although Shapps’ resignation letter says that “the buck” stops with him, his allies are privately furious at his de facto sacking, and they are pointing the finger at Feldman. They point out that not only was Feldman the senior partner on paper, but when the rewards for the unexpected election victory were handed out, it was Feldman who was held up as the key man, while Shapps was given what they see as a relatively lowly position in the Department for International Development.  Yet Feldman is still in post while Shapps was effectively forced out by David Cameron. Once again, says one, “the PM’s mates are protected, the rest of us shafted”.

As Simon Walters reports in this morning’s Mail on Sunday, the focus is turning onto Feldman, while Paul Goodman, the editor of the influential grassroots website ConservativeHome has piled further pressure on the peer by calling for him to go.

But even Feldman’s resignation is unlikely to be the end of the matter. Although the scope of the allegations against Clarke were unknown to many, questions about his behaviour were widespread, and fears about the conduct of elections in the party’s youth wing are also longstanding. Shortly after the 2010 election, Conservative student activists told me they’d cheered when Sadiq Khan defeated Clarke in Tooting, while a group of Conservative staffers were said to be part of the “Six per cent club” – they wanted a swing big enough for a Tory majority, but too small for Clarke to win his seat. The viciousness of Conservative Future’s internal elections is sufficiently well-known, meanwhile, to be a repeated refrain among defenders of the notoriously opaque democratic process in Labour Students, with supporters of a one member one vote system asked if they would risk elections as vicious as those in their Tory equivalent.

Just as it seems unlikely that Feldman remained ignorant of allegations against Clarke if Shapps knew, it feels untenable to argue that Clarke’s defeat could be cheered by both student Conservatives and Tory staffers and the unpleasantness of the party’s internal election sufficiently well-known by its opponents, without coming across the desk of Conservative politicians above even the chair of CCHQ’s paygrade.

Stephen Bush is editor of the Staggers, the New Statesman’s political blog.